A recipe for balancing northern development with environmental protection

While environmentalist and industry views about Northern Australia’s development almost completely differ, it’s difficult to see how a fair balance can be struck. Conservationist and former Canadian Liberal Party candidate Harvey Locke has spent a lifetime researching how to weigh up the interests of industry and the environment, in the United States and Canada. He suggests development should focus on centers of high value industry, while making sure ecosystems remain healthy and linked. > Watch this short interview with, Harvey Locke, strategic advisor to The WILD Foundation & Nature Needs Half Transcript: JANE BARDON, REPORTER: Harvey Locke welcome to 730. HARVEY LOCKE, CANADIAN CONSERVATIONIST: Thank you. JANE BARDON: You’re basically working on a very different vision for developing or managing northern Australia, what are the key things that you’re looking for in your vision? HARVEY LOCKE, CANADIAN CONSERVATIONIST: Northern Australia is one of the great intact systems in the world. Doesn’t mean it’s in perfect shape but it’s in awfully good shape. And there are a few places like that, we have the Boreal Forest, the Ardakan, the Rocky Mountains in Northern Canada for example in a similar condition. And I’m interested in working with people who want to think about that as a spectacular opportunity in the 21st century to do things a little differently than we’ve done before. JANE BARDON: Are you looking at basically almost a chain of reserves or are you thinking some of this preservation of the tropical savannah for example could include some low impact grazing systems et cetera, as well for the cattle industry? HARVEY LOCKE, CANADIAN CONSERVATIONIST: The idea would be that...

Go WILD…For a Change

Article originally published in Sanctuary Asia magazine, February 2013, by Vance G. Martin, president of The WILD Foundation “Our climate is on steroids” is the catchy metaphor used by Dr. Gerald Meehl of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in my hometown of Boulder, Colorado. One of those rare scientists with a flair for communication, Dr. Meehl makes a good comparison when he likens greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to steroids in the body of a champion athlete. Steroids alone do not create the champion competitor – rather, they create an enhanced environment in which other factors such as training, diet, and attitude are better able to combine to cause the effect. Similarly, while greenhouse gases in the atmosphere do lead to a rise in temperature, they also, more importantly, create an enhanced situation in which other existing phenomena such as weather patterns like La Nina/El Nino, jet stream fluctuations, etc., can interact in varied and more extreme ways to create what is called climate change.   While this metaphor is apt, it only describes the condition we face, not the cause of it. In response, you might say that the cause of climate change is the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. That is the physical cause, yes, but of course there is something deeper that we need to address, i.e., the human activities that fuel the release of these greenhouse gases, which in turn hasten climate change. Actions such as political awareness, legislation and policy are important, but they still only address the symptoms. If we want to cure the condition, we need to address its cause. To get to the root of this situation (and subsequently create a more effective solution), let’s shift our metaphor to one of illness and cure. The human race is addicted to growth, greed, and...
Boreal Birds Need Half: Maintaining North America’s Bird Nursery and Why It Matters

Boreal Birds Need Half: Maintaining North America’s Bird Nursery and Why It Matters

  The North American Boreal Forest has been dubbed “North America’s Bird Nursery” due to its impressive role in supporting migratory birds. The statistics are astonishing:   –  Between 1-3 billion birds representing more than 300 species flock to the boreal each spring to find summer nesting habitat. –  Once the young have hatched, 3-5 billion birds migrate back south toward their winter habitat—many as close as the U.S. and some as far south as the Tierra del Fuego. –  More than 1 billion of these birds become common wintering birds that can be found throughout the U.S. This new scientific report takes a closer look at this amazing relationship and what we can do to preserve the hundreds of species that intimately rely on this vast, mostly-intact forest. To provide birds the best fighting chance of surviving the duel threats of habitat loss and climate change, at least half of the boreal forest should be protected from industrial development. This continues the ever-growing research concluding that larger, interconnected protected areas are necessary in order to maintain our planet’s amazing collection of biodiversity.   Please visit the Boreal Songbird Initiative website for photos, maps, other supporting graphics, and more information. >> And you can read the full report here: Report: Boreal Birds Need Half: Maintaining North America’s Bird Nursery and Why It Matters    Featured cover image: © Morgan...
Space for Nature: Zoological Society of London

Space for Nature: Zoological Society of London

The Zoological Society of London   – the world’s oldest and most renowned conservation science organization, working in over 50 countries – has joined with WILD to explore and illustrate how Nature Needs Half is both necessary and possible. “Space for Nature,” a video created by the Zoological Society of London (with participation from The WILD Foundation & Nature Needs Half), explores how the Nature Needs Half vision can be realized in practice by setting aside space for...
Biodiverse Urban Habitats in Ioannina, Greece

Biodiverse Urban Habitats in Ioannina, Greece

By: Austin Perez One of Greece’s largest cities has proven to be an unexpected biodiversity hotspot supporting an urban habitat for a diverse array of vegetative species. Ioannina is a city in the northwestern region of Greece with a population of over 112,000 people, and is full of centuries worth of history and culture. But researchers have recently discovered that Ioannina is also a biodiversity hotspot and provides a fruitful habitat for a wide diversity of plant species. A recent study has discovered that Ioannina has 11 different habitat types supporting 379 plant species, 27 of which are of conservation interest. Over half (68%) of all of the plant species and subspecies studied were found to be existing in anthropogenic habitats, which were either designed or altered by human activity. This case study presented by Ioannina exemplifies that the anthropogenic habitats of European cities can function as important areas for biodiversity. The existence of biodiverse habitats in city areas demonstrates the importance of promoting urban planning policies that incorporate a focus on nature conservation. This is a key strategy of the WILD Cities Project, which is striving to support the existence and productivity of wild nature in urban areas all over the world in congruence with the Nature Needs Half vision. >> Read more here: Urban habitats as a refuge for biodiversity: A case study in Greece © Aimilios Petrou Source: Kantsa, A., Tscheulin, T., Junker, R.R. et al. (2013). “Urban biodiversity hotspots wait to get discovered: The example of the city of Ioannina, NW Greece”. Landscape and Urban Planning. 120: 129 137. DOI:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2013.08.013.    ...

Two Yukon First Nations and Two Yukon Environmental Organizations launch Legal Action against Yukon Government to protect Peel River Watershed

  Press Release: Two Yukon First Nations and Two Yukon Environmental Organizations launch Legal Action against Yukon Government to protect Peel River Watershed  January 27, 2014 Introduction:  Vancouver, BC – Today in Vancouver Thomas R. Berger, O.C., Q.C. announced that a lawsuit is being filed against the Yukon Government on behalf of two Yukon First Nations and two Yukon environmental organizations. Berger and his clients, the First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Yukon Chapter (CPAWS Yukon) and the Yukon Conservation Society are launching a legal action to force the Yukon Government to implement a Land Use Plan that would protect 54,000 square kilometres of wilderness in northern Yukon’s Peel River Watershed, against mining and other industrial development. >> Read the full press release: Peel Watershed Media Release Jan 27 2014        ...
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